A donated digital device unlocks a creative future for Teresa

Teresa. Lady sitting in bright kitchen looking aheadTeresa, 65, is a resident in sheltered accommodation in West Belfast, Northern Ireland, run by Radius Housing, which is how she learned of a project from United Way UK and AbilityNet to provide digital devices to older people, and training for using the devices.

Teresa received a donated tablet and AbilityNet volunteers provided digital skills training within the sheltered housing complex, which provides one and two-bedroom apartments for the over 55s and facilities, which include a computer room.

She already has a smartphone but says the larger tablet device she received is “easier to hold” and makes for a better experience when she calls her son in Australia, who is expecting a child – Teresa’s grandchild. Teresa said: “I speak to him once a week. They’re expecting a baby. And [with the tablet], I won’t have to wait until he comes home from Australia. You know, I’d be able to see the baby. That means an awful lot.”

Writing courses

Aside from chatting overseas, Teresa uses her tablet for online banking and aspires to take an online creative writing course. 

“It’s something I’d like to do,” said Teresa, who has been writing about her life: she was involved in Northern Ireland’s Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry. She added, “I’ve been writing my things for nearly 20 years now, but I just don’t know how to word things.”

Access free webinars on a range of topics of relevance to disabled people, older people, digital accessibility professionals and many others. Recordings of past webinars are free to access.

Supporting others with computer needs

Older man and older lady looking at tablet on table in room with a group of peopleTeresa would also like to learn more about sharing and storing files online. “I’m computer literate myself,” she said. “But there’s a few things I don’t know, like how to send large files, things like that, you know? So, I thought I’d better go and join [the scheme]. I’d better join because I could also help others down there.” Of the talk from AbilityNet, she said, “It was very useful.” 

Teresa has shared her knowledge with other residents. “The man next door to me is 80-something, and he was eager to learn. He got the tablet, and I set it up for him; got him an email address,” said Teresa.

“People want to do online banking because some of them can't get out. And they want to be able to talk to their family.”

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Request Free IT Support At Home

You can request a home visit by:

  • Using the 'Home Visit Request' form on our website
  • Calling our helpline during Monday to Friday office hours on 0300 180 0028
  • Please note: calls to our helpline number cost no more than a national rate call to an 01 or 02 number and count towards any inclusive minutes in the same way as 01 and 02 calls, and AbilityNet does not receive any money from these calls
  • Sending an email to enquiries@abilitynet.org.uk
AbilityNet in partnership with BT Group logoAbilityNet's Digital Skills project with BT Group is supporting people 65+ with getting online and using technology, such as:

- learning how to use email
- make video calls
- use online banking and book medical appointments

Sign up for Free BT Digital Skills sessions for people over 65 in your area. (Available to people in and around London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cardiff.)

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